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Top Note Oils: Their Nature and Purpose

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In the science of aromatherapy, top note oils are the fastest acting essential oils and the lightest. They are uplifting and stimulating in nature and affect conditions of mental exhaustion, disinterest, and apathy. These oils are effective for a period of 24 hours. Examples include: lemon, eucalyptus, basil, bergamot, cajuput, tea tree, and clary sage.

I have outlined two popular top note oils below that you will see used in your aromatherapy and/or massage sessions; I have also detailed their composition and purpose of use in the therapy.

1. Basil Oil:

Basil oil is found throughout Asia as well as in parts of Europe (France, Italy and Cypress).

The chemical composition of basil varies depending upon the variety of the herb. However, the chemicals usually present in varying percentages in basil varieties are - anethole, citronellol, pinene, ocimene, fenchyl acetate, trans-ocimene, cineole, camphor octanane, camphene, methyl eugenol, linalool, myrcenemethyl chavicol, methyl cinnamate, eugenol, beta-caryophyllene, terpineol and linalyl acetate.

Almost all basil varieties serve as agents that inhibit germ growth, anti-depressants, digestives and tonics.

Basil oil is used in aromatherapy in conditions of:
• Nausea and vomiting
• Mental problems including depression
• Gout
• Colds and flu
• Insect repelling
• Respiratory conditions
However, the oil is not to be used on those with sensitive skins and on pregnant women.

2. Eucalyptus Oil:

Eucalyptus trees are primarily found in Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines, though some varieties are also popular in India, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

The chemical composition of eucalyptus oil is predominantly the organic compound eucalyptol or cineole (of the ether family). The oil may help relieve the symptoms of influenza and colds. Inhalation of eucalyptol or cineole also dilates the respiratory tract. It is known to regulate airway mucus hyper-secretion and asthma via anti-inflammatory cytokine inhibition. Eucalyptus oil also stimulates immune system response.

Thus, in aromatherapy sessions, eucalyptus oil is used to tackle the conditions of:

Add a Comment2 Comments

To the reader,
Be sure the oils you are using are essential therapeutic grade oils. Other types of oils without this assurance could do more harm than good. Essential oils, as noted in the articles, should be considered in maintaining good health. http://www.empowher.com/providers/wisdom-nature can provide more information, answer questions, and provide vendors who can supply therapeutic grade essential oils.

January 4, 2011 - 8:45pm
(reply to happycaldwell)

Dear Happycaldwell,

Thank you for the heads-up on that important note. Yes, therapeutic grade is a must if the person wishes to buy and use the oils themselves. I think I should include that to my caveat statement at the end - "*Please note that all essential and carrier oils can start an allergic reaction on sensitive skin and most of the oils should not be used during pregnancy. Some oils are harmful to health conditions including epilepsy. Do not use any oil that has an aroma you are uncomfortable with. Consult your aromatherapist or holistic health therapist before using any oil."

However, if the person wants to use them for massage, they will get the therapeutic grade at the therapists clinic where they get their treatment.


January 4, 2011 - 9:05pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.